5 Squadron

5 Sqn Crest


A maple leaf - approved by HM King George VI in June 1937. It commemorates the Squadron's close links with the Canadian Corps during WWI.


Frangas non flectas - Thou mayst break but shall not bend me.

Key Dates:

1913 - Formed at Farnborough.
1931 - Last frontline unit to retire the WW1 Bristol Fighter.
1990 – V(Fighter) and 29(Fighter) Sqn were the first RAF units to deploy to the Gulf.
2004 - Reformed as V(Army Cooperation) Squadron at RAF Waddington.
2008 to 2014 – Flew over 1400 missions in support of Op HERRICK.

    Current Aircraft and Location:

    Current Aircraft: Sentinel R1

    Current Location: RAF Waddington

    Battle Honours:

    Western Front 1914-1918, Mons*, Neuve Chappelle, Ypres 1915*, Loos*, Arras*, Somme 1918*, Amiens*, Hindenburg Line, Waziristan 1920-1925, MOhmand 1927, North West Frontier 1930-1931, North West Frontier 1935-1939, Arakan 1942-1944*, Manipur 1944, Burma 1944-1945*.

    (Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)

    History of V(AC) Squadron:

    Formed at Farnborough on 26 July 1913, the Squadron went to France to provide reconnaissance for the BEF in August 1914. The Squadron had the distinction of recording the RFCs first war casualties when an aircraft was hit by rifle fire on 22 August 1914. The Squadron then took a leading role in the development of aerial photography and wireless telephony during the early days of the War. Artillery observation was the main task with BE2Cs and in 1917 the Squadron formed a close association with the Canadian Corps, remaining with them after the Armistice as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. In 1920 the Squadron reformed at Quetta, India for army co-operation work on the North West Frontier. Its venerable Bristol Fighters remained with them for 11 years until replaced in 1931 by Wapitis. These outdated biplanes unbelievably remained until 1940 when they where replaced by equally ancient Harts!

    In 1942 Mohawk fighters arrived and the aircraft moved to Assam and escorted Blenheims attacking targets in North West Burma. Subsequent types flown included Hurricanes and Thunderbolts before, in 1947 the Squadron was disbanded. On 11 February 1949, it was reformed at Pembrey in South Wales on mundane target-towing duties. In September 1951, No 5 Sqn moved to Germany and flew Vampires and Venom fighter bombers before succumbing to defence cuts in 1957. During 1959 it was reborn as part of the all-weather fighter force in Germany, flying Javelins, and moved to Binbrook in 1965 with the all-new Lightning F6. These remained the Squadrons mount until 1987, when these were replaced by the Tornado F3, and it moved to Coningsby. A combined 5/29 Squadron was the first RAF component to arrive in Saudi Arabia in August 1990 after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In 2003 V Squadron disbanded at RAF Coningsby.

    Number 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron was reformed on 1st April 2004 at RAF Waddington, marking the beginning of a new era in the world of military Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) for the Squadron. The new role for '5' is to operate the Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) System, which consists of five modified Bombardier Global Express long-range business jets. In RAF service, the aircraft type will be known as the Sentinel R Mk 1, with the R acknowledging its Reconnaissance pedigree.

    The Squadron currently has a compliment of approximately 150 personnel and is commanded by the Officer Commanding, Wg Cdr Chris Melville MBE. At its greatest strength the Squadron had over 300 personnel split between all 3 services. Currently the majority of the 150 personnel are made up by the RAF with a small number from the Royal Navy and Army.
    Training and Logistic support is also through a unique arrangement, provided mostly by a commercial contractor in Raytheon Sys­tems Limited.

    However, perhaps the most particular aspect of the Squad­ron is its mission, as this relatively new type of surveillance system is at the cutting edge of technology and military capability. The UK has never possessed such a for­midable capability in the past and, even globally, it is difficult to draw parallels in terms of Squadron system flexibility and overall performance.

    Text size: